"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious
heritage a people ever received, and each one
must do his part if we wish to show that the
nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
Theodore Roosevelt arrived in the badlands for the first time in 1883, excited by the prospect of big game hunting in the sweeping grasslands famously rife with bison. Upon his arrival, he was devastated to find that hunting, disease and overgrazing had nearly decimated the once vast herds of bison and greatly endangered the land and wildlife.
The 1883 trip stayed with Roosevelt in the years leading up to his first presidential election of 1901 and today he is still sometimes referred to as the “Conservation President.” In his first term as president he added three new National Parks and in 1906, during his second term, he signed the “Act For The Preservation of American Antiquities” into law. This authorized the President, at his discretion, to “declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be National Monuments.”